A hot cup of tea spiced with freshly grated ginger, brightened with a dash of milk is how I love to start my day. This soothing and invigorating Indian-style Ginger tea, or Adrak wali chai, is made with just four ingredients, and is ready in 10 minutes!
It won't be an exaggeration to say that the aroma, flavor and taste of this cherished hot beverage is what gets more than one billion people out of bed every single day!
Tea, or chai, is perhaps the most common beverage in most north-Indian homes. Even when guests visit unannounced, they rarely leave without having a cup of tea 🙂
What is Ginger Tea/ Ginger Chai
An Indian-style Ginger tea is made by brewing black tea leaves in hot water, that is infused with freshly grated ginger root. It is then simmered with a splash of milk and optionally sweetened to taste.
Ginger is called 'Adrak' in Hindi and tea is called 'chai'. In my home, our mornings start with a cup of adrak ki chai, made by hubby!
Fun fact: The term "chai" originated from the Hindi word "chai", which was derived from the Chinese word for tea, cha. So, technically, Chai and Tea mean the same thing. So, saying Chai-Tea Latte is like saying 'Tea Tea' Latte 🙂
Health Benefits of Ginger Tea
For thousands of years, the spicy and aromatic ginger root has been used by many cultures in cooking and medicine. There are several health benefits of ginger, which transfer over to ginger tea. They are:
- Some older studies indicate that ginger helps decrease motion sickness, the queasy feeling one experiences in moving vehicles.
- The presence of volatile oils and phenol compounds called gingerols, ease nausea from morning sickness or chemotherapy.
- Some studies show that ginger consumption can be protective against heart disease, can help lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, relieve heartburn and improve blood circulation. (It's always a good idea to confirm these benefits with your doctor)
- Ginger has been used to treat inflammation for centuries. It’s been shown in several studies to help relieve pain from osteoarthritis of the knee in particular.
Ingredients for Ginger Tea
- Ginger- Use fresh ginger for best results. I wouldn't recommend using dry ginger powder as it has a very different taste. Buy firm ginger roots with light brown skin. Darker roots indicate over-ripe ginger, which has an unpleasant earthy taste. Wash and dry ginger and scrape off any bruised skin with a spoon or vegetable peeler. Peeling the entire ginger is optional (I don't).
- Cardamom- A little goes a long way here. Just 2 green cardamom pods, gently crushed are enough to perfume the tea ever so slightly with a floral aroma. It is optional, but goes really well in this recipe. I recommend buying whole green cardamom pods, or seeds.
- Indian Tea (loose tea or tea bags)- Indian black tea brands vary in terms of taste and strength of the tea. Pick a brand that you prefer. I like Taj Mahal brand. You can either get loose tea leaves, or tea bags, from a large grocery store, or from Amazon.
- Milk: I prefer to use low fat milk (2%), and about two tablespoons per cup to make a medium-strong cup of tea. To make your chai richer and lighter, add whole milk or increase the quantity.
How to Make Ginger Tea/ Indian Chai
Here's a 10-minute recipe to make a comforting cup of tea!
- Place a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add water, grated ginger, gently crushed cardamom pods and let the water come up to a simmer. (Pic 1)
- Add tea leaves (or tea bags) and bring everything to a roaring boil. (Pic 2)
- Add milk and bring the tea to a full boil again. Turn off the heat. (Pic 3)
- Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the tea in two cups. Add sugar or honey to taste, if using. Enjoy! (Pic 4)
Serving Suggestions- What goes best with Adrak ki Chai?
How to Make Ginger Tea for a Party?
Indian gatherings are incomplete without a round or two of chai! Whenever I'm hosting a large group of family and friends, I follow these tried and tested tips for a stress-free entertaining:
- Take a head count. Make a few extra as you'll always have a few people who will change their mind when they see a piping hot cup of tea 🙂
- For a large crowd, you can prepare the chai a couple of hours ahead of time and store it in a party-size thermos.
- Alternatively, prepare the water with ginger and cardamom and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Now when you're ready to make chai, simply add another 1 cup to make up for the evaporation, bring it to a boil again, add tea bags, milk and follow the same process.
Ginger Tea Variations
- Masala Chai: Add ¼-½ teaspoon of tea masala (chai masala) to the sauce pan along with ginger and cardamom. Here's a detailed recipe for Masala chai.
- Kadak Chai: Kadak means 'strong' in english. Kadak chai is typically served in the street-side food kiosks in India. For that, add an extra ¼ cup of both, water and milk, and simmer the chai for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Creamier Tea: For a richer chai, add 1½ cups water + ¾ cup milk instead. Alternatively, use full-fat milk.
- Stronger Ginger flavor: Add more or less ginger based on your preference.
- Add lemongrass: Add a few pieces of lemongrass leaves to enhance the citrusy flavors of ginger.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Use fresh ginger for best results. Wash and dry ginger and scrape off any bruised skin with a spoon or vegetable peeler. Peeling the entire ginger is optional and purely based on personal preference (I don't).
- This quantity of ginger gives tea a prominent ginger flavor. The quantity of ginger can be adjusted to suit your preference.
- Add ⅛ teaspoon of tea masala (chai masala) to the sauce pan along with ginger and cardamom, and enjoy Masala chai.
- To make a strong cup of tea (Kadak Chai), add an extra ¼ cup of water and milk each, and simmer the chai for 2 to 3 minutes.
- For a creamier chai, add 1½ cups water + ¾ cup milk instead. Alternatively, use full-fat milk.
- Ginger chai gets darker in color a bit bitter in taste if reheated multiple times. If making a larger batch, store in a thermos and use as needed.
- Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the tea to avoid any tea leaves from transferring over to the cup.
- Ginger tea is a must-have with Indian sweet and savory snacks like Pakora, Samosa Pinwheels or Almond Spice cookies.
Frequently Asked Questions for Ginger Tea
No, it is not necessary, it's a personal preference. The skin of ginger contains some nutrients. To preserve that I simply rinse and dry ginger to remove any dirt. I scrape off any bruised skin.
Ginger tea is great anytime during the day, but the ideal time to drink it is in the morning. It helps the body wake up, end its overnight fast and charge up the metabolism. Black tea contains caffeine, so it is best to avoid it during late hours to prevent any interference with sleep.
More Drink Recipes
Ginger Tea (Adrak Wali Chai)
- 2 cup water
- 2 teaspoon grated ginger (about ½-inch piece)
- 2 teaspoon black tea leaves or 2 black tea bags like Tetley, Taj Mahal
- ¼-⅓ cup low-fat milk (adjust quantity to taste)
- 2 green cardamom pods gently crushed
- sugar/honey to taste (I skip it)
- Place a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add water, grated ginger, gently crushed cardamom pods and let the water come up to a simmer.
- Add tea leaves (or tea bags) and bring everything to a roaring boil.
- Add milk and bring the tea to a full boil again. Turn off the heat.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, pout the tea in two cups. Add sugar or honey to taste, if using. Enjoy!
- Ginger: Wash and dry ginger and scrape off any bruised skin with a spoon or vegetable peeler. Peeling the entire ginger is optional and purely based on personal preference (I don't).
- Make Masala Chai- Add ⅛ teaspoon of tea masala (chai masala) to the sauce pan along with ginger and cardamom, and enjoy Masala chai.
- Make 'Kadak' Chai: Kadak means 'strong' in english. Kadak chai is typically served in the street-side food kiosks in India. For that, add an extra ¼ cup of water and milk each, and simmer the chai for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Rich tea: For a richer chai, add 1½ cups water + ¾ cup milk instead. Alternatively, use full-fat milk.